Here’s How Sassa Grants Will Be Changing In April

April 2024 has come with some major changes for beneficiaries of social grants in South Africa. The value of Sassa grants not only increased but several other measures have been introduced.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is currently distributing grants to more than 18 million people living in South Africa. April 2024 will be the first month in which Grant recipients receive an increase in their grant payments

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced these grant increases during his February 2024 Budget Speech. This increase applies to all permanent Sassa grants the Older Persons pension grant, Disability grant, War Veterans grant, Care Dependency grant, Foster Child grant, Child Support grant, Child Support grant Top-Up and Grant-in-aid.

Godongwana announced an increase of R100 to the older persons, war veterans, disability, and care dependency grants. This amount will be divided into R90 effective from April, and R10 effective from October.

Additionally, they announced a R50 increase to the foster care grant as well as an R20 increase to the child support grant.

The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, often referred to as the R350 grant, has also been increased. Several other legislative changes have also been introduced aimed at improving the administration of the SRD Grant. 

SRD Grant beneficiaries will see an increase from the current R350 to R370 starting April 1, 2024, marking a rise of R20 or 5.7%.

These Sassa increases mean that for the 2024/2025 financial year, the government’s planned expenditure on grants includes R107 billion for the old-age grant, R89.0 billion for social security funds, R85.8 billion for the child support grant, R73.4 billion for other grants, R22.0 billion for provincial social development, and R10.1 billion for policy oversight and grant administration.

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Grant Increases Impact 

In addition to the changes in grant values and legislation around the SRD grant administration, the Department of Social Development (DSD) also introduces new measures to ensure grants are paid to the rightful beneficiaries. 

Section27 Budget Researcher Matshidiso Lencoasa believes changes introduced by the DSD are a positive aspect of ensuring that intended beneficiaries receive the funds, which aligns with similar interventions. 

That regulation about ensuring that the intended beneficiaries are the ones who receive the funding, on the surface, is a good thing 

However, they argue that a systematic approach is needed, highlighting the underfunding and lack of capacity within the department. They also expressed concern regarding the inefficiencies in the application and appeals processes, which result in many eligible individuals not receiving grants.

We’ve seen reports of underfunding or below inflation increases to various sectors… that this department is quite under-capacitated to ensure that the money that is given… arrives 

Lencoasa acknowledged that the grant increases, especially the R20 increase for the SRD grant will be welcomed by beneficiaries but emphasised that it still falls short of adequately supporting beneficiaries, especially given the existing poverty levels. 
They stress the need for more substantial increases to truly protect marginalised individuals. This increase should be aligned with the food poverty line. 
The amount, in fact, the R350 originally is already insufficient if you think about the poverty line… every month being at about R760 a month.
Lencoasa has slammed regulations that allow the DSD to suspend SRD grant payments for beneficiaries who fail to update their details. They argue that it unfairly burdens already vulnerable individuals and may lead to further hardships.
I also wonder just from a practical point of view if we’re going to try and get back the money that was paid irregularly… isn’t able to access or pay back the state… You know how we are going to enforce this kind of Regulation.
Lencoasa called for a more comprehensive approach to social welfare, one that prioritises human rights and addresses the underlying systemic issues contributing to the inefficiencies in grant distribution. They advocate for increased funding and improved systems within the Department of Social Development to ensure that all eligible beneficiaries receive the support they need.

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